James Patrick (Pat) Fitzgerald, 87, of Elkader, IA, passed away on August 29, 2023, at the Strawberry Point Lutheran Home in Strawberry Point, . Pat was born on October 25, 1935, in Elma, IA, the son of James and Mabel (Carroll) Fitzgerald.
Pat was raised on the family farm and attended Immaculate Conception High School in Elma, graduating on May 15, 1954. After graduation, he helped on the family farm and volunteered for the draft in September 1954. He was deployed in November 1954, and spent time in Camp Chaffee, Arkansas, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Fort Riley, Kansas, when he was honorably discharged in August 1956. In 2012, he was honored to be a guest on an Honor Flight from Dubuque to Washington, D.C., which he enjoyed. He received his Quilt of Valor in November 2018.
While on leave from the military a month prior to his discharge, he purchased a milk can route that picked up milk from dairymen. After two years, this turned into a successful career as the Surge Dairy Equipment Dealer for over 40 years. He became known as the “Surge man,” serving the Tri State area retiring in August 1997.
On September 5, 1960, Pat was united in marriage to the love of his life, Arlys Jean Croatt at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in St. Lucas. They began their life together in Strawberry Point, where they resided for three years before settling in Elkader. For over 40 years they were blessed to work side by side in work and in life, noting the job was at times a 24/7 profession. Pat and Arlys enjoyed traveling to many different places after retirement and spent their winters in Lakeland, Florida for 22 years.
Pat was a dedicated and proud husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He loved his family and supported them in any way he could. He was a hardworking and driven individual. He enjoyed spending time at his farms, golfing, traveling, biking, volunteering, gardening, yardwork and woodworking projects. He was a lifelong active member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Elkader, the Knights of Columbus, a Fourth Degree Knight, as well as a member of the American Legion.
Pat is survived by his wife of 63 years, Arlys, of Elkader; six children, Terry (Laura) Fitzgerald, West Des Moines, Mike (Kristin) Fitzgerald, Elkader, Patti (Jordan) Guyer, Cresco, Tim (Kathy) Fitzgerald, Farmington, MN, Karen (Jeff) Saddoris, Ankeny and Kim (Brian) Reichter, Hawkeye; 17 grandchildren; Natalie Fitzgerald, Nathan (Sarah) Fitzgerald, Chelsea (Craig) Ohloff, Zachary Guyer, Megan (Cody) Carolan, Noah Guyer, Katrina (Phil) Glodowski, Kayla (Nate) Roush, Karissa and Trevin Fitzgerald, Connor (Claire) Saddoris, Katie, Jonathan and Macy Saddoris, Abby, Blake and Cael Reichter; six great-grandchildren, Isabella, Sophia and Rosalee Ohloff, Ada and Hazel Roush, Mason Carolan, and Baby Glodowski in December 2023; siblings, Jerry (Donna) Fitzgerald, Elma, Mary Danielson, Rochester, MN, and Joanne Huegel, Rochester MN; two sisters-in-law, Mary Ellen Fitzgerald, Boscobel, WI and Jeanette Croatt, Hastings, MN; brother-in-law Gary (Jackie) Frana, Palm Springs, CA and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; James and Mabel Fitzgerald; mother and father-in-law, Nick and Eleanor Croatt; two brothers, Eddie and Joe Fitzgerald; three brothers-in law, Leallan Croattt, Dan Huegel and Ralph Danielson; two sisters-in-law, Sharon Kay Frana and Lavonne Frickson and nephew Todd Huegel.
The family wishes to thank the Elkader Care Center, Strawberry Point Lutheran Home, St. Croix Hospice and MercyOne, Elkader for all of their care.
Visitation: Thursday, September 14, 2023, 4 to 7 with a Scripture Service at 7 – at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Elkader and on Friday from 9:30 am until 10:20 am also at the church .
Mass of Christian Burial: 10:30AM on Friday, September 15, 2023, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Elkader with Rev. John Haugen officiating.
Interment: St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Elkader
Leonard-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service is assisting the family.